November 17, 2010, 3:35 PM — So this means there's going to be a fresh wave of hiring by Internet companies, right?
Don't hold your breath. That's not happening, at least for awhile. But it's still good to see that U.S. online advertising revenues hit a record $6.4 billion in the third quarter, up 17 percent from last year's Q3, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC US.
In a statement announcing the results, Randall Rothenberg, president & CEO of the IAB, said, “The Internet has transformed consumers’ lives and how they experience entertainment, information and brands. Marketers have embraced digital media because that’s where they can engage with their consumers. This vibrant, innovative industry is creating jobs and contributing to the growth of the U.S. economy.”
Well, it is contributing to the growth of the U.S. economy. Last I saw, though, most Internet companies were curbing their impulse to add full-time employees in any major way. If someone has data that proves otherwise, I'd love to see it. (And "I know an Internet company that just hired two developers" doesn't count.)
The real key to translating ad revenue into jobs will be the fourth quarter. If you look at the chart below, with one exception (2002), online ad revenues for each year reached their highest in Q4. Through three quarters this year, total online ad revenue is $18.6 billion. If Q4 hits, say, $6.7 billion, that's $25.3 billion for 2010, which would be an annual record and an increase of nearly 12 percent over 2009.
I'm reasonably confident that will happen. If so, perhaps Internet companies will become reasonably confident enough to begin adding jobs. Which, you know, would be nice.
Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.